Maybe your child took some great shots of neotropical migrants during your family birding vacation in Costa Rica. Or she’s successfully captured the story of the robins hatching and fledging in your backyard. What do you do with the photos now, so that they don't fade into obscurity on your home computer? Here are some ways to preserve and present them, either to your friends and family or to the broader community or birding world.
Preserve for Friends and Family
- Print and frame the favorites. You can do this on a home printer using photo paper, or order prints in any size from an online service. Or you can turn a particularly vibrant image into something even more creative. The website Big Huge Labs lets you design all kinds of products, such as trading cards, jigsaw puzzles, and magazine covers (you can produce your own Audubon cover!).
- Kodak Fun for Kids features DIY projects, such as a memory card game, that parents and children can make together using printed photos. Along with instructions, the site lists suggested skill levels, materials needed, and time requirements.
Share With Your Local Community
- If your child has photos that tell the story of a birding trip, or a portfolio of images of local birds that they're excited about sharing with others, consider encouraging him or her to put together a slideshow. Google Slides is free to use and fairly intuitive. Venues such as a local school, public library, or Audubon chapter will likely welcome the presentation and provide the projector and screen.
- Alternately, Animoto enables you to turn photos and video clips into stunning HD videos; you can even set them to music. Smilebox offers another way to create animated slideshows (and greeting cards, too). Your creations can then be emailed, posted to Facebook, or burned onto DVDs. Both sites offer a free trial period if you want to check them out before purchasing a year’s subscription.
- Consider putting together a photo display that could be mounted at a local community center or as part of an event, like an Earth Day celebration. Are there nature centers in your area that could use photos to promote education and awareness about local wildlife?
- Establish a school photography club to help your child and others link up to share their photos. Inquire at the school to see if there’s interest; the art teacher is often a good place to start. eBird also offers some tips on How to Start a New Club. Though aimed expressly at birding, its “Young Birders Club Toolkit” can be tailored to form a club that focuses on bird photography as well.
Share With an Online Community
- Contribute to science and conservation by sharing photos of birds while also reporting sightings to the eBird database. eBird is both a real-time, online checklist program and a global citizen-science project. The observations provide scientists, educators, and conservation biologists with data about bird distribution and abundance around the world. The data have been used in a wide variety of applications, from highlighting the importance of public lands to studies on evolution. Plus, eBird is a great way to kickstart a conversation with your child about conservation and maintain his or her own individual checklist.
- There are a number of blogging sites geared specifically toward kids. Kidblog, Doodlekit, and Edublogs are three good options. These all enable parents or a teacher to control who can view and comment. The website Kids Learn to Blog offers resources for both children and parents to lead them through the process, with helpful guides such as How to Start a Blog for Kids Under 13 and videos on how to blog for those more visually oriented. You can find a great collection of blogs maintained by young birders at Ebird’s Young Birders’ Blogs.
- While social media may give some parents pause, developers have created a couple of photo-sharing apps explicitly for young users. PopJam, otherwise known as ‘Instagram for kids,’ allows children under the age of 13 to comment and share photos, as well as draw doodles in response to each other. With Kuddle, kids can add captions to their photos but can't comment or tag in order to prevent bullying.
- If your child is 13 or older, he or she can create Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter accounts to share images and network with other young photographers. Instagram is a particularly good platform for highlighting bird photography; tagging the species and location will help catch the attention of like-minded Instagrammers. For inspiration look to @ascullyphoto, @ajpermain, @warrior_creative_jr, @birdographer18, and @naturepicsbyeaston. Facebook provides a more in-depth experience with the ability to create and share albums from trips. And a Twitter account can reach a different audience altogether. Young bird photographers tweeting their adventures include @birdgirluk, @ashleighscully, @loganlalonde, @chrisg_photos, and @birdgirl709.